West Valley City • The Utah Grizzlies charged out of the gates Saturday night, exploding for four goals in the first two periods. Goalie Kevin Carr stopped the first 26 shots he faced until Fort Wayne broke through. In the end, the Grizzlies salvaged a split of the series, winning 4-2.
With two of Utah’s top scorers (Greger Hanson and Kyle Thomas) called up to Anaheim’s AHL affiliate in San Diego), coach Tim Branham traded for Ryan Walters and it paid off brilliantly. Walters scored two goals in the first period and the Grizzlies never looked back.
Already in possession of a two-goal lead, the Grizzlies were presented with a two-man advantage in the second period. Waiting patiently for a good shot, Taylor Richart fired toward the net and the puck deflected off the stick of Michael Pelech and into the back of the net.
It was the Ryan Walters show Saturday night at the Maverik Center. Returning in a Grizzlies home jersey for the first time in two years, Walters made a splash, finding the back of the net twice in the first period to secure a 2-0 lead for Utah.
Carr provided an impenetrable wall in goal against an onslaught of shots by the Komets in the first 50 minutes. Fort Wayne fired a total of 26 shots his until Daniel Maggio and Shawn Szydlowski finally broke through.
Continuing his case as the Grizzlies MVP in the early season, Michael Pelech factored in three of Utah’s four goals. Scoring one himself, Pelech also assisted on both of Walter’s goals.
“It feels great to be back in Utah and wearing a Grizzlies jersey,” Walters said. “We were motivated to not get swept and that first period was huge for us.”
Utah hosts the Colorado Eagles at 7 p.m. next Friday at the Maverik Center.